A Healthy Look at Workplace Wellness Programs

Workplace Wellness Programs

According to a Rand workplace wellness study, half of U.S. employers offer wellness promotion programs.

With these initiatives, companies hope to encourage employees to take better care of themselves and, in turn, keep healthcare costs down. Fewer sick employees also translates to a boost in productivity and a healthier bottom line. Plus, there’s an Affordable Care Act perk: Clients can receive incentives for establishing workplace wellness programs.

There are plenty of reasons workplace wellness programs are popular. But what do they look like exactly? Most take on one of these forms:

Screening: Used to identify health risks, screenings are meant to help employees learn about their personal health issues and give them resources for combatting those conditions. The health risk assessment (HRA) questionnaire is one common format. Companies administer this to employees to collect information about health behaviors such as diet that can be improved; they then use the answers to plan and evaluate their wellness programs. Biometric screenings of employees, which collect information such as height, weight and heart rate, are also widely used for the same purpose.

Prevention: Under this category, organizations offer lifestyle management programs, which are designed to lower health risks and keep chronic illnesses away. Most often, they target nutrition and weight, smoking, fitness, substance abuse and stress management. Some firms also offer disease management programs, which help employees living with chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and asthma. These programs aim to reduce complications for employees while also showing them how to better manage their conditions over the long term. 

Health promotion: These activities are meant to encourage healthy lifestyles and are usually available to all employees, regardless of their health status. They include on-site immunizations, free or subsidized gym memberships or on-site gym equipment, nurse advice lines, and healthy food options in company cafeterias and vending machines.

Workplace wellness programs can help reduce your company’s healthcare coverage costs and also allow you to attract the best talent and increase employee productivity. All in all, they’re a great investment that can improve the health of not only your employees, but also your business.

What type of workplace wellness program does your company offer? Let us know in the comments section.

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